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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

ESD 560:        Innovations in Sustainable Design and Manufacturing


Leader:           Dr Dai Morgan

Timing:           Lent term 2021

Structure:       Eight 2-hour sessions in weeks 1 to 8 plus coursework assignment



The emphasis in this module is on how we can guide innovation towards more sustainable outcomes. The module will explore manufacturing, design and business-model perspectives and identify contemporary issues in the field, including the design principles for sustainability (including eco, social, inclusive and whole-system perspectives), value perspectives, the circular economy, risk and resilience within global supply systems, and organisational challenges in adopting and advancing sustainability practices. Specific attention will be drawn to structured methods for analysing and guiding innovation in design and manufacturing, linking the development processes to the products and services that result from them.


Learning objectives

By the end of the course, students will be able to

  • Analyse existing systems of design and manufacturing and identify sustainability-oriented challenge
  • Identify relevant approaches to innovation that can address specific sustainability-oriented challenges and opportunities
  • Use relevant frameworks and approaches to develop new concepts for design and manufacturing that address specified concerns.



   Manufacturing innovation – past, present and future

  • Evolution of manufacturing since the industrial revolution; a whole-system perspective
  • Contemporary concerns in manufacturing: global value chains
  • Trends and drivers in sustainable manufacturing:  shaping forces and scenarios.

   Design for sustainability – process and outcomes

  • Design for outcomes (eco, inclusive, social, sustainability)
  • Design process design (from Double Diamond to Whole Systems Design).

   Business model innovation, Part 1 – value perspectives

  • Business models and the relationship with design and manufacturing strategy
  • Principles of multi-stakeholder value exchange and value uncaptured perspective
  • Value Explorer exercise: Middling Mobile Phone Company case study.

   Business model innovation, Part 2 – value innovation and implications

  • Value Explorer exercise: Middling Mobile Phone Company case study (continued)
  • Proposed new direction for Middling Mobile Phone Company including implications for design and manufacturing.

   Industrial ecology and the circular economy

  • Introduction to industrial ecology and tools
  • A critical assessment of circular economy: an application of industrial ecology tools.

   Supply chain risk and resilience

  • Introduction to supply chain management
  • Risk typology for risk identification and interdependencies
  • Analysing and managing risk and the unintended consequences of risk mitigation.

   Industry and sustainability

  • Industrial efficiency and organisational logics
  • The role of technology and value
  • Transitions to sustainable systems of manufacturing.

   Implementation challenges

  • Product service system: transformation challenges
  • Transformation case study.


Assessment: 100% coursework

Indicative (may vary from year to year): One coursework assignment of up to 4,000 words.


Course Overview



The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.